Military stories from past to present, both wars.

4th of July

June 30th, 2011 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

 In the 70’s, I grew up on a Naval Amphibious Base, in Little Creek Va. right below the approach path to runway 23 at ORF.  I can remember banging pots and pans together with all the neighborhood children in the streets that 4th of July night in 1976.  Two hundred years of Independence and they made a quarter with the little drummer boy on it.  Oh yeah, I had the hots for Nadia Comaneci, it was a great year. 

Our neighbor was a British SBS (Special Boat Service) Officer on an exchange tour with the Navy SEALS.  He seemed very amused at the party in the streets and I asked him “Mr. Heath, do you all celebrate Fourth of July in England?”  He smiled and replied “No Mitchell, we hold a wake” in his crisp English accent.  I didn’t even think about  the implications of asking a Brit this question.  Truly, I didn’t know.

I think the meaning of this holiday, like most in our country, has been transformed into a commercial byproduct of good advertising.  We have lost the prospective of the cost associated with freedom.  Back 235 years ago, when you were hit by a Red Coat musket ball, you probably lost your arm or leg and then maybe died from the infection later on.   Our guys hitting the beachhead in Omaha or assaulting the Japanese on Iwo Jima suffered greatly as they have in every war since this great Country was founded.  They came home, complete with the scars of war with hundreds of thousands never to return all, so that we as a Country would be free.

On this holiday, as I fly across the United States, like I have for the past 13 years (one 4th was spent in Afghanistan, free fireworks) I will look forward to being at thirty five thousand feet watching the entire country exploded with celebrations.  For while I know, our children only bang pots and pans because they are allowed to be wild feral beasts for one night, they hopefully will fully understand when they get older, the sacrifice our fellow citizens in the Military have made to keep America free.  God Bless America and all those Men and Women in harms way this moment and in the past who make up the fabric of freedom protecting us.

Semper Fi,